History of Trinity Christian College
On April 5, 1956, a visionary group of young business leaders recognizing the need for a Christian college in the Chicagoland area proclaimed, “Now is the time to organize.” They then faced the questions of how, where, and when to begin. The answer:
“If we begin with Christ and continue with Christ, we have the assurance that we will be blessed.”
(Junior College Society newsletter, 1956)
The founders began Trinity Christian College for many of the same reasons other colleges exist—but they envisioned an even deeper mission. Trinity is about action—a place where God can call followers who will do, not simply believe. Those who attend Trinity want to live a life that makes a difference, and to live their Christianity boldly.
From Golf course to College courses
The first board of trustees was elected in 1959, and they purchased the Navajo Hills Golf Course in suburban Palos Heights, Illinois, for the campus. After remodeling the former clubhouse and pro shop, the then two-year college opened that fall with a class of 37 students taught by five faculty members.
In 1966, the board initiated the process for the College to become a four-year, degree-granting institution. The first baccalaureate degrees were awarded in May 1971.
Building on the Foundation of Reformed Christianity
The College’s roots are founded in Reformed Christianity, a historical connection that is both foundational and pervasive today. At Trinity we continue to offer an outstanding education conderned about the whole person—for good, for God, and for the world.
“Our heritage is the historic Christian faith as it was reshaped in the Reformation, and our fundamental basis of governance and instruction is the infallible Word of God as interpreted by the Reformed standards.”
(excerpt from the Mission Statement)
At the core
The original curriculum of Trinity focused substantially on philosophy, history, English, and theology. Today, Trinity continues to focus on the liberal arts, and areas of specialization have expanded to include over 80 programs and majors, including the professional areas of business, education, nursing, and criminal justice. In all areas, professors integrate a Christian worldview into the curriculum.
The accelerated Adult Programs were added in 1999 and offers degrees in business, education, psychology and special education. The Graduate Programs were added in 2012 and offer degrees in counseling psychology and special education.
Growth of the campus and Facilities
The College celebrated its 50th anniversary in October 2009. The College continues to be blessed with strong growth in the student body, curriculum, and buildings. Since 2000, we’ve added the below facilities:
2001: The College dedicates the Martin and Janet Ozinga Chapel with the 46-rank pipe organ dominating the stage of the 1,189-seat auditorium.
2002: The Heritage Science Center opens, providing 38,000 square feet of classrooms, lab space, and a lecture hall.
2004: Trinity pauses to celebrate and give thanks for the completion of Alumni Hall.
2008: The Bootsma Bookstore Café is dedicated, honoring former College president Dr. Ken Bootsma (1984-1996) and Jan André Bootmsa.
2008: The long-envisioned 44,000-square-foot Art and Communication Center is dedicated.
2009: Plans for the expansion of the gym coincide with development of the new Rt. 83 athletic fields.
2011: The DeVos Athletics and Recreation Center opens.
We are proud of our beginnings and how far our mission has taken us. We expect Trinity’s campus to continue to expand, as we continue to embrace both our heritage and the vision of our leaders.
Alexander De Jong, Th.D.
1966-1968 (d. 2003)
Gordon Werkema, Ed.D.
Dennis Hoekstra, B.D. Ed.D.
Gerard Van Groningen, Ph.D.
1980-1984, Emeritus (d. 2014)
Kenneth Bootsma, Ed.D.
AJ Anglin, Ph.D.
Anthony Diekema, Ph.D
Steven Timmermans, Ph.D.
Elizabeth Rudenga, Ph.D.
Kurt D. Dykstra, JD